I hate to admit this but I had settled into a rather complacent relationship with Mary. I loved her, believed it important to pray the Rosary, but seldom followed through regularly with this devotion. It was not until some crucial situations arose with my kids vocations did I begin a 54 day Novena to Our Lady. Three days into the Novena, a great breakthrough occurred in my heart and the situation with my kids. I was made a “true believer” in the loving attention that Our Lady has towards us. The miracle of her intercession brought me back to praying the daily Rosary. I need a mother!
When we examine the lives of the Saints, nearly all had a living relationship with the Virgin Mary. Venerable Concepcion was no exception. She called her systematic life style of holiness the “Chain of Love” after Jesus revealed his preferences for her life. We can learn a great deal about advancing in the spiritual life, as lay, consecrated or ordained persons, by reflecting on Venerable Concepcion’s daily aims or practices in the “Chain of Love” and to make our relationship with Mary a priority. Once again, the “Chain of Love” consists in 14 parameters to consider and emulate as we live. Rule or parameter number 8 says, “They must have a very great love of my Mother, imitating her in her perfect obedience towards God and men.” Why is this important; and why do we consider this today on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel? To learn about this, we turn to the writings of Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, OCD.
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, OCD, a revered spiritual writer on Carmelite spirituality, penned: a devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means:
- Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit. If we gaze into Mary’s soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalcuable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him. Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace, where love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind reign supreme. [...] Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God; and the one who has best realized this highest of ideals is Our Lady herself, ‘Queen and Splendor of Carmel.”
- When you examine your own practices, are you like me in the past, someone who says they love Our Lady, but who rarely expresses it? How could you develop and implement your “great love for Jesus’ Mother: and take on her heart? If we seek to imitate Jesus in all we do, we must become a faithful disciple of Mary. What child fails to love a faithful and attentive Mother? Sometimes, Mary puts herself out in front in our relationship with God, while other times, she presents Jesus to us and remains hidden. On this glorious feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, ask yourself: Where am I with Mary and what place does she have in my life? ~ Mary
- P.S. Why not pray the Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!