FIRST DAY: NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
Mary, welcoming model
Listening to the Word: The Annunciation (Lk 1: 26-38)
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
The Gospels begin by presenting Mary as a woman who embraces God's plan. In an attitude of prayer, she listens, meditates, consents and answers "yes" to God who calls her. In a word she is welcoming. It is this welcoming that gives birth to Life in her. "And the Word was made flesh."
Holy Mary, welcoming woman, lead us to imitate you so that every day we may give birth to Jesus in the situations of life where we find ourselves.
Holy Mary, welcoming woman, teach us to meditate the Word of God like you, so that at every moment of our lives we may welcome it and allow ourselves to be guided by it.
Holy Mary, flower of Carmel, hear our pleading.
My commitment is to read a page of the Gospel and reflect on it to try and discover what God wishes of me in my daily life.
Flower of Carmel
splendour of heaven,
Child-bearing yet maiden,
None equals thee.
Mother so tender,
whom no man didst know,
On Carmel's children
thy favours bestow,
Star of the sea.