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Marian Devotion: A Call to the Interior Life

Text from Gabriel of St. Maria Magdalena, OCD, Intimitd divina, 2nd‘, Roma 1956, pp. 1313-131


Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a call to the interior life, which is in a very special way the life of Mary Our Lady wishes us to be like hen more in heart and in spirit, than by wearing an exterior habit. If we penetrate Mary’s soul, we see that grace flourished in her and that her interior life was immensely rich.

She lived a life of recollection, of prayer, of uninterrupted self-giving to God, of continuous relationship with God and of intimate union. The soul of Mary is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has left an imprint, where there reigns love, zeal for the glory of God and for the salvation of people.


Those who wish to have a full and deep devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, must follow Mary in the profundity of her interior life. Carmel is a symbol of the contemplative life, a life wholly dedicated to the search for God, wholly turned towards divine intimacy. The one who most fully fulfils this high ideal is Our Lady, Regina Decor Carmeli. “In the desert equity will live and on Carmel justice will preside. Peace will flow from justice and from justice silence will flow and security forever My people will live in peace, in a strong fortress.” These verses taken from Isaiah (cf. 32, 16-18) and used for the proper Office for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, set out very well what is the contemplative spirit and at the same time are a beautiful sketch of the soul of Mary, who is a true "garden" (in Hebrew “Carmel" means garden) of virtue, oasis of silence, of peace, in whom reigns justice and equity. She is a stronghold surrounded by the shadow of God and filled with God. Every soul called to the interior life, even if living in the midst of this noisy world, must seek to arrive at this peace and at this interior silence that makes possible the continuous contact with God. The passions disturb the peace of our soul and interrupt the intimate conversation with God. Only the soul which is completely detached and which has completely dominated all passions can, like Mary, be a solitary, silent "garden" where the Lord finds delight. This is the grace, which today we ask from Our Lady, choosing her as the patroness and mistress of our interior life. 

As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."