Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Elijah

"Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God." (Ps 92:13)

Celebrating both the Solemnities of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and of Elijah - within four days' time - springs forth an image of what they share on the most hidden to manifest levels.

Reading the above verse from Psalm 92, on the day before Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I was struck by the invisible but essential aspect of being planted, that gives way to flourishing. I immediately thought of Mary, and our Lord being pleased to dwell in the "garden" of her heart, as she found the delight of her heart to dwell in the garden of His presence.

It simultaneously occurred to me how the consummate faith of Mary is one that is so permeated by God that she conceived and bore Him, as so many writers have described.

In every account from Scripture, her example gives witness to God being pleased to abide in her and act through her. Sometimes we hear of a human tendency to separate the intimacy of prayer, believing, with actions that flow from faith; the invisible, from the visible, the hidden, from the revealed (not a Carmelite approach!).

But there is no separation: only a progression, as in the seed taking root, to shoot outward and in its time, bear fruit. Praying, believing as Mary, does not raise a question about whether the hidden will have its impact. Jesus is the Seed, the Word, who will not return return void to the Father, achieving the end (Is 55:11).

How much that is true of Elijah! His communion of prayer with God was so thorough, that it could not but be revealed in his zeal, in mission: from the whisper in his inmost being, penetrating through his most depleted condition; and the fire that descended from heaven in view of all, finally raising him up into the fullness of God's fire of love.

Written by A Listening Heart
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