Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mary and Elijah: Presence, Inspiration and Guide

From the Rule of Life for Lay Carmelites

Mary and Elijah: Presence, Inspiration and Guide

34. Like Mary, first among the humble and the poor of the Lord, lay Carmelites discover that they are called to sing of the wonders that the Lord has performed in their lives. With her, the image and first flowering of the Church, they learn to measure the often tortuous ups and downs of daily life against the Word of God. They learn from her to welcome the Word, to be open to it and to embrace it fully. Mary, in whom the Word was made flesh, inspires lay Carmelites to be faithful to their mission, to actions which are animated by charity and by a spirit of service and to practical co-operation in the work of salvation. Together with Mary, they travel along the paths of history, alert to authentic human needs, ready always to share with the Lord the sacrifice of the Cross and to experience with him the peace of new life. Mary is a singular and eminent member of the Church. In her own way she has shared increasingly in the unique mediation between God and humanity, made real in Jesus Christ, and which today the Church carries and mediates in history. Lay Carmelites let themselves be accompanied by Mary in gradually taking on responsibility for co-operation in salvation and for the communication of grace given in the Church. In Carmel, this was traditionally seen in terms of the motherly love of Mary for Carmel. Carmelites are aware of being loved by such a great and tender mother and cannot but love her in return.Hence comes the idea of losing oneself in God, in the maternal warmth of the Blessed Virgin.

35. Lay Carmelites also share the zeal of the prophet Elijah for the Lord and his law. They are ready to defend the rights of those who are downtrodden. They learn from the prophet to leave everything to go into the desert in order to be purified, made ready for their meeting with the Lord and to welcome his word. They feel impelled, like the prophet, to support true religion against false idols. Together with Elijah, lay Carmelites learn to feel the presence of the Lord which comes to humanity with strength and gentleness. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Strengthened by this transforming and life-giving experience, lay Carmelites are able to face the realities of the world, confident that God holds the destiny of each one and the whole of history itself.

The Rule of life

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