A gift from the Hermits

I received such a lovely email today from some Carmelite hermits in the USA. I post a few excerpts here, lovely for meditation. You can find out more about them or donate to support them at their website.

How I’d love to show you the lovely infinite horizon beyond creation that I experience and contemplate… He reveals and makes Himself known to souls that really seek to know and love Him. Everything on earth… seems to shrink, to lose value before the Divinity which, like an infinite Sun, continues to shine upon my miserable soul with its rays. Yes. I have a heaven in my soul, because God is there, and God is heaven.”
-St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes

“Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary specifically under her glorious title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel entails a certain realization and acknowledgment of the primacy of the spiritual life, of the interior life of human beings who are endowed with a spiritual soul created in the image of God and made for eternal union with Him.”

“As we gradually grow in a knowledge of the mysteries of the Catholic faith revealed by the Son of God incarnate through His Church, we will find the depths of our souls enkindled in love and zeal for God and His eternal, immutable Truth. This divine love will sanctify and purify our souls and dispose them for more intimate interior communication and union with God, in anticipation of the fullness of union with Him in Heaven, for which we have been made, and which alone can make us truly happy, no matter how much the world, the flesh, and the devil lie and deny that fundamental truth of human existence.”

Yesterday’s feast of Our Lady of Carmel was touching, and reminded me how very dependent we are on God’s mercy not only for our mere existence, but for every sustenance. That He gave us His own Blessed Mother to keep us, console us and guide us is a treasure. Here is another image of Our Blessed Mother, from Avila, Spain.

Flos Carmeli

Tomorrow is the feast day of Our Lady of Carmel. This is very widely celebrated in Brazil, but not necessarily in other places. Our Lady of Carmel is one of those devotions I seem to have by accident, along with Saint Benedict. They just keep accumulating in my life without much planning on my part, so I take that as God’s work and go along with it.

I did go to Avila once. It was really neat to see the places and things associated with Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross, though I always find it a bit painful when sacred objects are displayed as museum items. Spain is one of several countries I’ve been to where a lot of sacred places and objects have been confiscated by the state and turned into stuff for tourists. There’s plenty of prayer to be done in such places.

I had a large antique rosary that had belonged to a Belgian Carmelite. It was a connection to someone with a deeper life of prayer than mine, and I treasured it for a while, even though I was sure such a thing should properly have been buried with its original pray-er. The medals were worn from being touched. I must have given it away, as today I went looking for it to pray for the feast, but it was no where to be found. I’m guessing I gave it to a Carmelite friend.

The story of the origin of the Carmelites is fascinating. It’s worth a long read from the Catholic Encyclopedia for the full immersion version of the story!

I am most grateful for the repeated blessings, tenderness and guidance of Our Lady of Carmel and various holy Carmelites in my life.