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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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Model and Patron of Contemplative Souls

For Thomas Merton Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the model and patron
of contemplative souls. No surprise because Carmelites live their
contemplative ideal by gazing at her as a perfect image of their

"Mary, overshadowed by the Spirit of God, is the Virgin of the new
heart, who gave a human face to the Word made flesh. She is the
Virgin of wise and contemplative listening who kept and pondered in
her heart the events and the words of the Lord. She is the faithful
disciple of wisdom, who sought Jesus God's Wisdom and allowed
herself to be formed and moulded by his Spirit, so that in faith she
might be conformed to his ways and choices. Thus enlightened, Mary
is presented to us as one able to read "the great wonders" which God
accomplished in her for the salvation of the humble and of the poor.

Mary was not only the Mother of Our Lord; she also became his
perfect disciple, the woman of faith. She followed Jesus, walking
with the disciples, sharing their demanding and wearisome journey a
journey which required, above all, fraternal love and mutual service.

At the marriage feast in Cana, Mary taught us to believe in her Son;
at the foot of the Cross, she became Mother to all who believe; with
them she experiences the joy of the Resurrection. United with the
other disciples "in constant prayer, she received the first gifts of
the Spirit, who filled the earliest Christian community with
apostolic zeal.

Mary brings the good news of salvation to all men and women. She is
the woman who built relationships, not only within the inner circle
of Jesus' disciples, but, beyond that, with the people: with
Elizabeth, with the bride and bridegroom in Cana, with the other
women, and with Jesus "brothers".

Carmelites see in the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and archetype of
the Church, the perfect image of all that they want and hope to be.
For this reason, Carmelites have always thought of Mary as the
Patron of the Order, its Mother and Splendour; she is constantly
before their eyes and in their hearts as "the Virgin Most Pure."
Looking to her, and living in spiritual intimacy with her, we learn
to stand before God, and with one another, as the Lord's brothers.
Mary lives among us, as mother and sister, attentive to our needs;
along with us she waits and hopes, suffers and rejoices. The
scapular is a sign of Mary's permanent and constant motherly love
for Carmelite brothers and sisters. By their devotion to the
scapular, faithful to a tradition in the Order, especially since the
16th century, Carmelites express the loving closeness of Mary to the
people of God; it is a sign of consecration to Mary, a means of
uniting the faithful to the Order, and an effective and popular
means of evangelisation."

(From the Consitutions of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,

Marian Apparitions

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