Homily for the feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with Deacon Rusty Baldwin
St. John of the Cross is known as one of the greatest Spanish Poets. Thankfully, he was asked to expound upon his poems which resulted in the classics we may be familiar with…such as “The Spiritual Canticle,” “The Dark Night,” and “The Living Flame of Love.” Someone new to St. John of the Cross may complain, however, that he didn’t write very much about the Blessed Virgin Mary. This presentation by Lynn Bete, a professed Discalced Carmelite Secular in Dayton, OH, may change their perspective on that topic. What were the major Marian influences in St. John of the Cross’s life? How did our Blessed Mother draw him to come and to stay in Carmel? What does he write about our dear Blessed Mother? How can he be called totally Marian?
The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD
“The Mariology of Saint John of the Cross” by Br. John-Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD
“Mary and the Holy Spirit in the Writings of John of the Cross” by Emmanuel J. Sullivan, OCD
Passages from St. John of the Cross:
God alone moves these souls [who have reached habitual union with God] toward those works that are in harmony with his will and ordinance, and they cannot be moved toward others. Thus the works and prayer of these souls always produce their effect.
Such were the prayer and the works of our Lady, the most glorious Virgin Raised from the very beginning to this high estate, she never had the form of any creature impressed in her soul, nor was she moved by any, for she was always moved by the Holy Spirit.
~ Ascent of Mount Carmel 3.2.10
The discreet lover does not care to ask for what she lacks and desires, but only indicates this need so the Beloved may do what he pleases. When the Blessed Virgin spoke to her beloved Son at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, she did not ask directly for the wine, but merely remarked: They have no wine.
~ Commentary on The Spiritual Canticle 2.8
You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire…
Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me.
~ Sayings of Light and Love #27 and #28
Then he called
the archangel Gabriel
and sent him to
the virgin Mary,
at whose consent
the mystery was wrought,
in whom the Trinity
clothed the Word with flesh.
and though Three work this,
it is wrought in the One;
and the Word lived incarnate
in the womb of Mary.
And he who had only a Father
now had a Mother too…
~ Romances 8
The Virgin, weighed
with the Word of God,
comes down the road:
if only you'll shelter her.
The famous sun miracle at the Church approved apparition in Fatima, Portugal on Oct. 13, 1917 remains a topic of discussion among many Catholics. Over a hundred years have passed since it occurred, yet we are still deriving great fruit from it. In this conversation, guest Angela Winfield will shed some light on the Carmelite connections to this great miracle and what it means for us today.
Herb Edwards, OCDS, gave a wonderful talk about Our Lady Queen of Peace at our September 2020 OCDS Community meeting. The very beginning of the talk was cut off but the talk was so amazing, we still wanted to share it with you here.
Paul Adams, OCDS, provides insights on St. Pope John Paul II and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Carmelites are well aware of the spiritual journey climbing Mt. Carmel to grow in union with our Lord. What may be passing under our radar is the Mystical Union with our Blessed Virgin Mary. This program addresses what that union is, what Marian souls experience in it, and how we may prepare ourselves to be open for such a great grace. The main source was the book by Fr. Emile Neubert called “Life of Union with Mary.”
For 2020, our OCDS Community in Dayton, Ohio, has the theme of "Mary, Our Mother” for all of our community presentations. This month’s presentation is on “Mary in Scripture.” There are some eye-opening analogies and topologies presented in this talk that will bolster the faith of many. Additionally, many scriptural passages are referenced for your benefit. The presentation is by Chris Cotter, OCDS.
It’s no surprise to learn of the great devotion St. Therese of Lisieux had for our Mother Mary. She was immersed in Marian devotion from her birth, being born into a family that all loved Mary. The focus of this presentation is on four aspects of Therese’s love for Mary: 1) the Ordinary/Simple Mary, 2) the Healing Mother/Child of Mary, 3) Being Under the Mantle/Veil of Mary, and 4) Mary’s Maternal Love: More Mother than Queen. At the end of the reflection, Therese’s poem “Why I Love You, O Mary” (from “The Poetry of Saint Therese of Lisieux” translated by Donald Kinney, OCD; ICS Publications) is recited. Take time to ponder this poem. It summarizes Therese’s love for Mary!
An important Marian celebration associated with the Order of Discalced Carmelites is the Memorial of ”Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace,” celebrated on July 23. What connection does this title have to “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?” What other connections are present? How is it important for all of us? What is “grace” and what kinds of grace are available to us? How do we obtain more grace? What unique role does the Blessed Mother play? What application does that have to the beginning words of the Angelic Salutation: “Hail, full of grace,” directed to Mary? How can knowing that help us to pray more fervently?
How did St. Teresa of Avila express her Marian devotion and how might we imitate her? Although St. Teresa did not write a major work on the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no doubt the importance she played in St. Teresa’s life, from her youth up through her founding many monasteries. One may ask, what place did the rosary have in her prayer life? What was the importance of the Virgin Mary in St. Teresa’s prayer? Did she have some mystical encounters involving the Blessed Mother? And, for today, how might we grow in our devotion to our Heavenly Mother?
Scripture: Lk 1:35
“The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1, 2, and 3,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Sermon in a Sentence: a Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life, Vol. 4, St. Teresa of Avila,” Selected and Arranged by John P. McClermon; Ignatius Press
“Saint Teresa of Jesus and the Virgin Mary” found at www.ocd.pcn.nt/mad_en1.htm