The Mother of God is the patroness of the Order of Carmelites, professed men and women religious who trace their spiritual lineage to the prophet Elijah, who lived on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land. The Mt. Carmel of Elijah would have been a strange, off-putting place to us. The prophets of Israel were not simply solitary figures, but guilds or bands who inhabited the wilderness of Mt. Carmel. These prophets would have been fearsome folks, known for their asceticism, trances, and visions, associated with powers that to the modern mind would seem like sorcery. To us, accustomed to a religion that is benignly therapeutic, they would seem wild, untamed and dangerous.
How many of us imagine Our Lady as being anything like those prophets? Or like Elijah? She is likely for most of us a gentle woman who speaks quiet words of wisdom and consolation. And this is true. But it is not the whole truth of the Mother of our Lord.
Our Lady does not speak often in the Scriptures, but what she does say is always significant. Her longest speech in the Bible is known to us as the Magnificat. If we consider her words, we might note with surprise that there is something fierce about the mother of Christ. She speaks in her Magnificat like Elijah. Her words testify to the Lord who arrives with all his power to set right a world gone wrong.
Remember this: without God and what God has done for us in Christ, nothing of who we are matters at all. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel shouts this truth out to a world absorbed in the ego and preoccupied with the trivial. She speaks and tells us, as Elijah and the prophets did centuries ago, to repent and believe. For the Lord in his might is coming and he is coming to set this world right.
--Fr. Steve Grunow,
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel,
Word on Fire
Image source: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Mill Valley, https://www.facebook.com/mountcarmelmv/