Lay Carmelites have a lot of common characteristics with the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is a lay person, a daughter, a sister and a mother in the family like many other women in the world, therefore Lay Carmelites can learn much from her.
During the Crusades in 12th century, a group of Westerners took up the life of hermits by the well of St. Elijah on Mt. Carmel. They built a chapel in honor of the Mother of Jesus, conscious that they were living in the area made holy by Jesus and his Mother (Nazareth is less than 20 miles away).
Another year gone by, and we are again looking forward to the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel. On account of that I would like to say a word to you all, first of all, to wish you a happy feast day and to
Even after the departure from the hermitages of Mount Carmel, there are found in our Order traces of the eremitic life. Indeed, mention is made of Carmelite recluses in several authoritative works. But perhaps the best known of these is Marie Petyt, who was probably the greatest of the Dutch mystics of the seventeenth century.
One hears it said occasionally that Mary is neglected in the Church today. There are certainly fewer manifestations of devotion: one thinks of May devotions in the past, as well as processions, popular novenas in churches, family Rosary and other indications of veneration and respect. Certainly there is a lesser quantity in devotional exercises than when I was a young Carmelite before Vatican II.
The past century has been called the age of Mary. In defining her Immaculate Conception one hundred years ago, Pope Pius IX inspired a renewal of Marian interest that has climaxed in the truly Marian pontificate of Pope Pius XII. The apparitions of our Blessed Mother at Lourdes in 1858 and at Fatima in 1917 have helped the devotion of the faithful keep pace with the announcements of the Popes. Our age has seen the canonizations of saints devoted to Mary, the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart, the definition of her glorious Assumption into heaven, and the proclamation of the feast of her universal Queenship. Truly this has been a Marian era unparalleled in the history of Christianity.
A great many people met Our Lord when he walked the earth. We know some of their names: the apostles, Martha and Mary and Lazarus. There are the unnamed groups, even crowds, who heard him preach, sometimes captivated by this itinerant rabbi who spoke like they had never heard before,
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."