|Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France|
Mary's closing visit to Lourdes was on July 16th the feast which honors her under the title of Carmel. She came at sunset. Her choice of day must not have been an accident. the very name Carmel must have filled her with fond memories.
She would have remembered many a sunset when she and her Son rested their eyes on the beauty of that mountain as the day faded. In its pure and lonely grandeur it stood out of this world. It recalled memories of a great past. She would have known it as a place of prayer and silence and the witness of mighty battles in the plains below.
When she sang her Magnificat she was the meeting-place of two worlds, a world stretching back to Abraham and forward to generations yet unborn. She recalled the past mercies of the Lord; she foresaw the praise future ages would give her for the great things God had done in her.
And in a sense, Carmel linked two worlds, east and west, past and future. A mountain hallowed by prayer before she was born, a place that would do her honor from age to age. There are flowers on Mount Carmel when there are none elsewhere.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel is a well-worn path, traveled down through the centuries by countless members of the Order which glories in the title of Carmel who have been richly rewarded for the ardor of the ascent, for in their souls have blossomed flowers of holiness of rarest quality. In the majestic grandeur of the mountain of God they have lived through dark nights, and have seen glorious dawns.There in the silent companionship of Mary they have pondered the word and remained with her in prayer. They have enriched the Church with a shining example of silent worship, unending contemplation, and pure love. The beauty of Carmel might tempt us to follow them at least from afar. Any day, at any moment, we may go on pilgrimage to Carmel, we may climb the heights to pay her our tribute of praise and love.
But before we start we have something to do. Before we ascend to honor her who had her roots in Jacob we must take the advice once given to Jacob before he ascended to Bethel. "Put away the foreign gods that are among you,, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. (Gen. 35,2) Three things to do. Put aside the gods made with hands, the worldly attachments which hold us in their spell; cleanse ourselves of the dross of this world; robe ourselves anew in the innocence of our baptismal garment, and then we will be capable of a new love, a new song that will have all the freshness and beauty of spring flowers on Carmel. Let St. John of the Cross lead us in this song for the ascent:
Let us rejoice, Beloved. And let us go forth to behold ourselves in your beauty, to the mountain and to the hill, to where the pure waters flows...There you will show me what my soul has been seeking.
Pilgrims With Mary by John Moloney P.P.
Peace be with you!