The celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is not one of the major Marian Feasts of the Year, like the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption, yet the reverence of Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel is one of the most widespread devotions found around the whole world. I have often wondered why that is...
The title refers to the special dedication of the Carmelite Religious Order to Our Lady. The Carmelites have been an important Order for almost a thousand years, but that still doesn’t explain how this devotion is everywhere in the Catholic world...
Think of how many wear the Brown Scapular but have little direct connection with the Carmelites.
However, if we appreciate their history and charism we can understand something beautiful.
In the 12th Century, after the 3rd Crusade in the Holy Land, some former crusaders settle on the side of Mount Carmel, to live as hermits, taking inspiration from the Prophets Elijah and Elisha who had dwelt on that mountain too. They lived a life of solitary and community prayer, occasionally going out to preach.
I imagine those guys: they’d seen everything and lived a lot. Many had marched on foot, maybe, from England or France to Palestine. They’d been embroiled in and survived horrible battles against the Muslim forces. They’d been through it all.
They had learned: the Love of God is all we can depend on. The Cross of Jesus Christ is our only hope.
PRAYER, our relationship with Him and how He transforms us ARE REALLY THE CENTER OF OUR LIVES.
They knew for themselves how the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly Our Mother, our Model, and our Guide in the way they wanted to journey into the Heart of Christ.
The Carmelites couldn’t stay long in the Holy Land as the Muslim forces regained strength and forced them to leave the Holy Land after about 50-100 years, relocating the whole Order to Europe where it grew, giving the Church such holy contemplatives as Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux.
Not only that, these “Brothers of Holy Mary of Mount Carmel” presented an inspiration that so many of us can and want to live in our families and in our home, as almost invisible contemplatives in the middle of our needy world.
This feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel speaks to us all what we know in deep in our hearts:
Truly, Our Help is in the Name of the Lord.
Tennyson’s words are true: "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." Let us ask Our Lady of Mount Carmel to lead us in keeping prayerful and peaceful hearts, knowing that prayerful Christians and Christians families are indeed the leaven that raises up a broken world.
To view Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 am EST, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
About Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C.
Father James Phalan, C.S.C. is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and the National Director of
Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years as part of the Family Rosary team, travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!