Thursday, July 13, 2023


                                                 כַּרְמֶל         KARMEL
Karmel (Carmel) means "garden", "orchard", "vineyards of God". In each of these places, a mystical Beauty lives and thrives and transforms. Carmel is God's Garden, a place of Encounter. Carmel is God's space where He chooses to dwell. God's Space: His Garden which He tends, His Orchard where He brings forth the sweetest of fruits, His Vineyard where His oils and aromas of Himself make holy every branch that He encounters on His Way.  Carmel is the spiritual room gloriously decorated with every sign of God's Presence within and in this Garden of God, His "Word is a spring which never runs dry" (St Ephrem). 

Our soul is His Garden, His place of Encounter, His Vineyard where His inexhaustible spring of love never runs dry.


              Queen and beauty of Mount Carmel, Virgin of the solitude,
              In the wilderness of Carmel lies the world's eternal good.
              Draw us into deep seclusion And make God alone our goal,
              In the mystical Mount Carmel That lies hidden in the soul.

                                                   (Sr Miriam of the Holy Spirit OCD,1905–1988).

Our soul is God's chosen dwelling house, the space where He longs to meet us. 

              SOLITUDE      WILDERNESS         SECLUSION              HIDDENNESS.

We need a Mother's touch to guide us into such unknown and often untrod places.

God allures us to desire Him in the depths of our soul where He waits within the scars of our life-wounds, silently, longing for even a glance from us in our busy-ness. His deepest desire is for us to give Him permission to inhabit our raw memories, our still-festering spiritual and emotional sores, to allow Him to give us sight to see how every hurt can become the context of our holiness* as He heals and transforms us into Himself: 

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness and speak comfortably unto her."  (Hosea 2:14)

And our Beloved Mother, ordained to "reveal the thoughts of many", gently helps us to recognize His Voice. 

When her Sacred Spouse, Spirit Lord draws us to pray the Rosary, we remember the words of St Louis de Montford: "When we say Mary, she says God." As we pray the Rosary, and at every utterance of her name "Mary", she turns our weary thoughts to Jesus, Lord, God. 

She is the stainless Window through which the Sun shines in His glory.

She is the Virgin of solitude, and, as she taught Therese of Lisieux, when we love someone, we want to be alone with them. 

Our Mother of Carmel directs our soul to yearn for her solitude where she is endlessly adoring God. She walks us silently and gently into our interior wilderness where our spiritual courage is under fire, yet, it's in that very fire, "with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning" (Joel 2:12), that we find Him again, His arms open, waiting for us to come back to Him with all our heart. 

Mary, our Queen of Carmel, whose Heart was Immaculate, still was human. St Therese reminds us that Mary was more a Mother than a Queen, she was one of us, not someone above us. Therese used to ask, what kind of a Mother would Mary be if her children could not imitate her? Mary "walked the ordinary days we all must travel. She was preserved from sin, but she was not spared the suffering which is its consequence. Just like us, she was often puzzled by the Will of God... She suffered pain as we all do, from privation and the cold, from misunderstanding, from anxiety and care... and yet she said... "LET IT BE DONE."** 

When this Woman draws us "into deep make God alone our Goal/In the mystical Mount Carmel That lies hidden in our soul" we can follow her there without fear, knowing that she has trodden that path of solitude and seclusion and hiddenness before us. In the Carmel of our soul, our Mother will lead us into purity, simplicity, holy poverty, to become completely open to God's wishes. She will give to us 'all that she gave to her Son.... her steadfast Mother's love'**.

In the Carmel of our soul, we will indeed hold the spiritual room gloriously decorated with every sign of God's Presence within, and in this Garden of God, His Word will be a "spring which never runs dry." 

                                                                               Flos Carmeli

 O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, Splendour of Heaven, holy and singular,
 who brought forth the Son of God while still remaining a Pure Virgin, assist me in this necessity.
 O Star of the Sea, help and protect me! Show me that Thou art my Mother.

* Mark Foley OCD
** Bishop Patrick Ahern

Anna Rae-Kelly OCDS